Interaction among calf suckling, use of oxytocin, milk production and reproduction in dairy buffaloes

Muhammad Qureshi, Nazir Ahmad

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Calf suckling and oxytocin injections are commonly used for pre-milking stimulus in dairy buffaloes under field conditions. A study was conducted to investigate effect of these treatments on reproductive performance. Fifty one Nili-Ravi buffaloes were monitored from parturition up to 150 days postpartum through rectal examination. Data on milk yield, body condition score (BCS) and reproductive parameters were recorded weekly. Postpartum ovulation interval (POI) was determined by presence of an ovulation depression or a very soft corpus luteum haemorrhagicum and was confirmed through milk progesterone levels (MPL). Suckling was used to stimulate milk let down, and where the calf had died, injection of oxytocin was resorted to. Milk samples were analyzed for MPL using radioimmunoassay (RIA) and fat; and milk yield was converted to 4% fat corrected milk (FCM). The mean postpartum uterine involution length (PUI) was 34.30 ± 1.33 days. Mean POI was 59.37 ± 4.76 days and mean postpartum estrus interval (PEI) was 69.03 ± 6.03 days. Suckling period averaged 26.40 ± 5.57 days and correlated with POI (r = 0.19, P < 0.01) and PEI (r = 0.23, P < 0.01). POI was shortest in buffaloes suckled for one month (P < 0.05). Oxytocin was used with a mean dosage of 7.50 IU, delaying placental expulsion time (PET) and POI but shortening PEI. BCS shortened PET, POI and PEI (P < 0.01). Mean FCM was 14.50 ± 0.20, ranging from 2 to 35 kg/d; and was higher in estrus group; correlating positively with POI (r = 0.31, P < 0.01). MPL were 1.37 ± 0.17 ng/ml and increased after ovulation, remaining greater than 1.5 ng/ml from Day 4 to 14 of the estrus cycle, followed by a rapid decline up to next estrus. BCS in buffaloes resuming oestrus was constantly higher than those failing to resume ovarian cyclicity. Live weight, prepartum was 510.0 ± 5.9 kg with a loss of 3.7 ± 2.12 kg, 30 days postpartum. The present study suggests a lower reproductive efficiency of dairy buffaloes under the peri-urban farming system reflected by ovarian cyclicity in 68.63% buffaloes within 150 days postpartum and silent estrus in 51.5% of the cases. Increasing suckling duration and use of oxytocin delayed POI, however, POI was shortest in buffaloes suckled for one month. The high yielding buffaloes also manifested better reproductive cyclicity; while moderate yielder showed shorter ovulation intervals and higher conception rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-392
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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